Branding the Pope

It appears that Father Guido Sarducci is in trouble- no more “Pope-soap-on-a-rope”. The Vatican has decided that they hold the copyright on any image of the Pope©.  From now on the Vatican and the Vatican alone will be able to cash in on images of the Holy Father. I guess if you are interested in worshiping graven images, you need to buy them from the authentic purveyors like this.

Vatican City, Dec 19, 2009 / 12:23 pm (CNA).- The Vatican made a declaration on the protection of the figure of the Pope on Saturday morning.  The statement seeks to establish and safeguard the name, image and any symbols of the Pope as being expressly for official use of the Holy See unless otherwise authorized.

The statement cited a “great increase of affection and esteem for the person of the Holy Father” in recent years as contributing to a desire to use the Pontiff’s name for all manner of educational and cultural institutions, civic groups and foundations.

Due to this demand, the Vatican has felt it necessary to declare that “it alone has the right to ensure the respect due to the Successors of Peter, and therefore, to protect the figure and personal identity of the Pope from the unauthorized use of his name and/or the papal coat of arms for ends and activities which have little or nothing to do with the Catholic Church.”

The declaration alludes to attempts to use ecclesiastical or pontifical symbols and logos to “attribute credibility and authority to initiatives” as another reason to establish their “copyright” on the Holy Father’s name, picture and coat of arms.

“Consequently, the use of anything referring directly to the person or office of the Supreme Pontiff… and/or the use of the title ‘Pontifical,’ must receive previous and express authorization from the Holy See,” concluded the message released to the press.

This seems pretty unenforceable to me! But, I guess the point is- if you can’t beat them, co-opt them.

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